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The Fight for the American Dream, September 28, 2014

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  • "The top 1-percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles," Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz concludes, "but there is one thing that money doesn't seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99-percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1-percent eventually do learn. Too late."
  • Part 1: “American dream” is now a myth: How bad policies and worse ideology ruined us.
  • Part 2: You call this a middle class? “I’m trying not to lose my house.”

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: “American dream” is now a myth: How bad policies and worse ideology ruined us

Once upon a time, Americans assumed they'd do better than their parents had. Here's why that's all gone away.

Heather Digby Parton, Salon

Credit: sturti via iStock)

Friday, Sep 26, 2014 | Over the past few years of economic torpor and social despair there’s been a lot of discussion about the death of the American dream. This shouldn’t be surprising. In a time when people feel they can’t keep up or are falling behind, it’s hard to have faith in the idea that everyone can achieve a base level of security and provide for their kids to do better than they did. That was always the deal for working-class Americans, immigrants and middle-class alike.

Generally, people agree that the lack of social and economic mobility we see today — necessities for the achievement of the American dream — is a result of the dramatic income inequality that’s grown dramatically over the last couple of decades. There’s even a name for this phenomenon called the Great Gatsby Curve, which simply shows that the more income inequality there is, the less social mobility there is. 

As Tim Noah of the New Republic explained:

Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Full story … 



Part 2: You call this a middle class? “I’m trying not to lose my house”

  • Welcome to the new America where good people with honest jobs are losing money each month -- and scrambling to live.
  • America Keeps People Poor On Purpose

Edward McClellandSalon

Saturday, March 1, 2014 | It took less than two years for Kim Brown to go from middle class to minimum wage.

In the fall of 2011, Brown was a Web support technician for an electronics distributor in Chicago, helping customers navigate the company’s website. She had been in the job for 11 years, earning a $45,000 salary, plus benefits.

Edward McClelland is the author of "Nothin' But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times and Hopes of America's Industrial Heartland."

Full story … 

Related:

America Keeps People Poor On Purpose, Yes! Magazine <> 

  • How four decades of lobbying and legislation gave corporations dominion over our economy—and eroded the American middle class.
  • A Timeline of Choices We've Made to Increase Inequality
  • Special Report | Homelessness and Poverty in America, Week Ending August 31, 2014

 

 

Section(s): 

A Wealthy Capitalist on Why Money Doesn’t Trickle Down

  • Nick Hanauer, venture capitalist and self-described "plutocrat," says a healthy economy and an effective democracy depend on a thriving middle class of workers.
  • Next Time Someone Argues For 'Trickle-Down' Economics, Show Them This

Nick Hanauer, YES! Magazine

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September 09, 2014 | The fundamental law of capitalism is: When workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers — not rich businesspeople — the true job creators. A thriving middle class isn’t a consequence of growth — which is what the trickle-down advocates would tell you. A thriving middle class is the source of growth and prosperity in capitalist economies.

Our economy has changed, lest you think that the minimum wage is for teenagers. The average age of a fast-food worker is 28. And minimum wage jobs aren’t confined to a small corner of the economy. By 2040, it is estimated that 48 percent of all American jobs will be low-wage service jobs. We need to reckon with this. What will our economy be like when it’s dominated by low paying service jobs? What proportion of the population do we want to live on food stamps? 50 percent? Does this matter? Should we care?

Nick Hanauer: venture capitalist and self-described "plutocrat"

Full story … 

Related:

Next Time Someone Argues For 'Trickle-Down' Economics, Show Them This, Kathleen Miles, Huffington Post

  • The highest-earning 20 percent of Americans have been making more and more over the past 40 years. Yet no other boats have risen; in fact, they're sinking. Over the same 40 years, the lowest-earning 60 percent of Americans have been making less and less.
  • Obama’s low-wage “recovery”

 

Paul Ryan Declares War Against Math

The deficit has in fact fallen very fast. Ryan’s response is to deny that any of this has happened, to castigate Obama for failing to reduce the deficit, and to propose new measures that would increase it. And he wants everybody to ignore the budget forecasters because their numbers won’t bear out his claims.

Paul Ryan is a con man.

Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

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September 23, 2014 | Paul Ryan has emerged from his long post-election period of repositioning, soul-searching, and secretly but not secretly visiting the poor. He had been caricatured as an Ayn Rand miser and attacked as a social Darwinist, merely for proposing the largest upward transfer of wealth in American history. Ryan has identified the root cause of his difficulties, and it is fiscal arithmetic.

The new Ryan, now fully formed, emerges in an interview with Philip Klein that is revealing precisely for its evasiveness. The overview of Ryan’s new strategy must be pieced together from several elements.

Jonathan Chait: writer for New York Magazine.

Full story … 

Why Some Americans Are More Equal Than Others

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  • If we don’t overcome that inhibition (Margaret Thatcher’s famous line, “There is no alternative” to the way we live now, so complaining is useless.) and find ways of imagining a fairer economy—as a democratic problem—the internal contradictions  of our oh-so-equal and oh-so-unequal society will keep proliferating.  
  • Poverty Is Not Inevitable: What We Can Do Now to Turn Things Around

Jedediah Purdy, The Daily Beast 

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09.02.14 | Americans pride themselves on an egalitarian society open to all. But some equality and inequality exist uneasily side by side. And the U.S. has never resolved this contradiction.

If the world is lucky enough to produce historians of the early 21st century, one question seems certain to grab their attention. How did so much equality coexist with so much inequality?

Economic inequality—the difference between the richest and the poorest, or between the rich and everyone else —has reached some of its highest levels ever, both in the U.S. and at around the world. Yet our time is also marked by a historically unique conviction that everyone matters equally.

 Jedediah Purdy is Robinson O. Everett Professor of Law at the Duke University School of Law.

Full story … 

Related: 

 

Poverty Is Not Inevitable: What We Can Do Now to Turn Things Around, Dean Paton, Yes! Magazine

Having poor people in the richest country in the world is a choice. We have the money to solve this. But do we have the will?

 
 

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